What is the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud?
If you want to take a look at the future of SAP products, the SAP Teched agenda (https://events.sap.com/teched/en/home) is a very useful crystal ball, at least for the near future. This agenda shows that SAP is focusing emphatically on the cloud in all areas. Massive investments and new developments are making SAP software fit for cloud use. This orientation will remain strategically in place for a long time. In each of SAP’s new quarterly reports, cloud revenues show a drastically higher share, while software license revenues are slowly declining.
Cloud solutions have a very great charm for customers: they can be used to form logical platforms that integrate solutions from a wide range of providers in a short space of time.
In this respect, a cloud-enabled version of SAP BW was also to be expected in the SAP Business Warehouse area in the near future. But those who expected the current BW/4HANA product to be enabled for the cloud have now been surprised: there is a new product, the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. It is not a successor or variant of SAP BW or SAP BW/4HANA, but a completely new product. Anyone who wants to can have their own 30-day trial instance made available to them free of charge. All you need is an e-mail address: https://www.sap.com/products/data-warehouse-cloud/trial.html, and the corresponding instance will be available for testing just a few minutes after you apply for it.
The SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is based on SAP HANA Cloud as the database and also comes in the paid version with five free licenses for SAP Analytics Cloud as the front end.
Why a new product?
There is no question that, in terms of SAP’s cloud strategy, in addition to SAP HANA as a database in the cloud and SAP Analytics as a frontend in the cloud, there must also be a cloud-enabled dataware house to make the portfolio complete. But then the development of a new product is unexpected, one would have rather assumed here the release of an already existing product like BW/4HANA for the cloud. Here it stands to reason that SAP has used this opportunity to transition to the cloud to take a new gamble.
Why this venture? Well, SAP has had to take note that although BW/4HANA provides a functionally complete toolset for running a data warehouse with all the associated issues such as governance, administration, monitoring, modeling, etc., other non-SAP products are quite successful in the market. Power BI, QlikView or similar products are even used by customers who have SAP BW in operation. And here the question arises as to what makes these products so attractive compared to SAP BW or SAP BW/4HANA.
Here, the following two aspects are repeatedly mentioned by customers: Simplicity and (decentralized) agility.
- Simplicity: the BW tool should be easy to use, even by the business department.
- (Decentralized) agility: the business department should also be able to quickly create data models independent of the central IT.
These aspects can also be summarized in the sentence: “We just want to relate a few tables to each other and be able to visualize that, it can’t be so elaborate, complicated and tedious.”
Here, the demands of central IT to offer a harmonized and consolidated view of all business data collide with the requirement to make only a few tables available in an agile manner. Both sides are quite right: most data sources are not just a few tables and their preparation and consolidation can be a very time-consuming process. However, if only a few simple tables need to be merged quickly, the implementation in SAP BW is often not agile enough, mostly because central IT is short of resources with its many tasks.
The new SAP Data Warehouse Cloud product now addresses these two aspects. It makes the business department independent of central IT with the help of its own workspaces. This means that new things can be tried out quickly without touching or changing important company-wide reporting objects. Agility and stability can thus coexist without interfering with each other. Furthermore, the business department can relate data sources or tables to each other in self-defined models, both graphically and programmatically, depending on the preferences of the business user. If the source data forms a simple model, this is also implemented correspondingly quickly and easily. Simple data lead to simple models. This is certainly the limit of the Data Warehouse Cloud: if the data and the associated business logic form a very complex model, the modeling tools in BW/4HANA are better suited for this.
Read in the next part of this blog what the first administrative steps are in a new empty SAP Data Warehouse Cloud system.